Douglas Institute celebrating and mourning

By Tracey Arial

The last two months are alternating between celebratory and difficult times for the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Verdun.

On one hand, the organization is moving forward on new construction and renewal and its staff and projects have received lots of awards in the past year, including LEED certification for the Brain Imaging Centre last week.

On the other hand, the Institution has had to say goodbye to its dedicated local board, including long-time serving president Claudette Allard and local elected representatives Pascale Martineau and Danielle T. Paiement. Their role was eliminated under Bill 10.

Staff is most excited about the construction of a large new building, which was on the agenda of Montreal’s health and social services organization yesterday. Plans call for the structure to be built in the centre of the property on the north side, approximately where Funville Daycare is on Champlain Street.

“Our new infrastructure renewal project is progressing well and we are confident that it will be approved by the l’Agence de la Santé et des services sociaux de Montréal board members on December 16,” said Douglas CEO Lynne McVey on Monday, just prior to this issue going to press.

McVey had already announced that the updated infrastructure was fifth on a list of priority projects approved by the Government of Quebec at the annual general meeting on November 11. Yesterday’s CSSS board meeting approval, assuming it occurred, is one of several steps on the way to firming up the project.

A photo of the building model was displayed during the annual general meeting, which 99 people attended. Anne Quirion, who’s in charge of the Good Neighbours Committee, says that she expects construction plans to be modified in the coming months.

The Annual General Meeting gave the Douglas Administration a chance to brag about major donations towards an expanded emergency centre, a new centre specializing in depression and suicide and another centre specializing in neuroinformatics research.

Despite so many positive stories, the meeting this year had a somber air as the final goodbye to a local board of directors.

Members who are no longer serving the organization include Claudette Allard, France Desjardins, Donald Prinsky, McGill vice-principal Samuel Benaroya, Jancy Bolté, Mario M. Caron, Ginette Cloutier, Carlos Dias, Louis Douville, Brigitte Friedman, Brahm Gelfand, Jacques Hurtubise, Pascale Martineau, Deborah Nasheim, Danielle T. Paiement, Matthew Pearce, Suzanne Renaud, Lorna Tardif and Luc Turcotte.

Despite the loss of these many local volunteers, the Douglas Hospital is working hard to reconnect to neighbours. It also maintains its Research Centre board of directors, including former ceo Jacques Hendlisz and the board of its Foundation, which is now headed by Suzanne Bélanger.

They’ve created a Good Neighbours committee and are planning a large public meeting on Thursday, January 15. It will take place from 7 until 8:30 p.m. in the Bowerman room of the Dobell Pavillon on the LaSalle side of the property (6875 LaSalle).

Any locals interested in the future direction of the institute are encouraged to attend.
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